This paper presents a numerical study of the behaviour of steel I-beams subjected to fire and a combination of axial force and bending moments. A geometrical and material non-linear finite element program, specially established in Liege for the analysis of structures submitted to fire, has been used to determine the resistance of a beam-column at elevated temperature, using the material properties of Eurocode 3, part 1-2. The numerical results have been compared with those obtained with the Eurocode 3, part 1-2 (1995) and the new version of the same Eurocode (2002). The results have confirmed that the new proposal for Eurocode 3 (2002) is more conservative than the ENV-EC3 (1995) approach. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.